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Armenian, Azeri FMs To Prepare For Crucial Karabakh Summit

By Armen Dulian

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian said Tuesday that he and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov will hold talks next week to prepare for a meeting of their presidents that could yield a breakthrough in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Oskanian said the talks are scheduled to take place in London on January 17-18 in the presence of international mediators and will be followed by the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit some time next month. “Its precise date and venue has not been ascertained yet,” he told a news conference.

“I think that after those two meetings it will be clearer what developments will occur in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 2006,” he added, highlighting great hopes pinned on the face-to-face meeting of Presidents Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian.

It is widely agreed that further progress in the peace process depends on the results of the encounter. Addressing members of Azerbaijan’s Security Council last week, Aliev expressed hope that this year will see a resolution of the Karabakh dispute.

Karabakh will also be high on the agenda of an upcoming visit to the region by the new chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht. Oskanian said he will be in Yerevan on January 24.

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